This Month's Host

Author
wwoofkorea
Date
2024-04-09 11:18
Views
100

We are conducting interviews with a host every month.

Who is the Host of the Month? Here we introduce Mr. Kang from GN_102

GN_102 Kang Chang-guk Host

 

Q: When did you start farming, and what did you do before?

A: I moved to Seoul in the 4th grade of elementary school to study and graduated from university. After graduating, I worked at a land appraisal office in Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do until 1991, and then I returned to Changwon, my hometown. This sudden change was due to my father being involved in a traffic accident, which resulted in me having to take care of my grandmother, mother, and blind elder sister. Consequently, I quit my job abruptly and started cultivating persimmons.

Q: What are the rewards and difficulties of practicing organic farming?

A: In the beginning, I had almost no income from farming for about five years. The main reason was that I lacked agricultural knowledge. Initially, I struggled to produce organic pesticide-free persimmons, and my income for a year was less than 3 million won. Therefore, from 1994, I acquired manuals and techniques for persimmon farming through the Persimmon Research Institute. In 2004, I began supplying persimmons to the organic food section of Hyundai Department Store, which became a turning point.

Daggam Farm started agro-tourism as the 6th industry in 2007. In 2009, as part of local agricultural exchange, we were selected as a WWOOF host farm by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Since then, we have been actively hosting.

 

Q: How long have you been hosting WWOOFers? What are your impressions of hosting?

A: When I first started hosting, it was fascinating to have foreigners come to the countryside to work. Out of curiosity, I focused more on cultural experiences with WWOOFers than giving them farming tasks. From 2010, I began guiding children alongside farm members during persimmon harvesting. In October, a group of students from the National University of Malaysia visited for a month-long WWOOFing experience, marking the beginning of international exchange at Daggam Farm.

 

Q: What tasks do WWOOFers typically undertake on your farm?

A: WWOOFers mainly engage in farming tasks such as persimmon picking, planting sweet potatoes and potatoes, harvesting persimmons, and making persimmon leaf tea, or they participate in making desserts such as persimmon bread and waffles at the farm café.

Q: Do you have any memorable WWOOFers from your hosting experience?

A: One autumn day in 2019, just a few months before the outbreak of COVID-19, I traveled to 11 villages in Jeollanam-do as a lecturer sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture. During that time, a WWOOFer from the US visited my farm.

Due to my busy schedule, I hadn't seen her face for three days. When I finally her at my farm, I was shocked. She was a second-generation Korean-American and bore a striking resemblance to our daughter, surprising not only me but also my family on the farm. This encounter led to an ongoing relationship, and the WWOOFer has visited Daggam Farm every winter since then, becoming a real member of our family.

Q: Apart from farm work, what experiences or activities can you offer WWOOFers?

A: We also visit local cultural heritage sites and agricultural-related government offices such as the Rural Development Administration's Technology Institute. Additionally, we visit local tourist attractions and festivals, with a very positive response from many WWOOFers.

 

 
 
Q: Can you give a message for readers of the WWOOF Korea newsletter?

A: The various activities we engage in during WWOOF may seem ordinary, but they can change our lives. These activities are also important elements in transforming agriculture and rural areas for the better. WWOOF activities involving people from all over the world cultivate the earth and nurture our minds.

 

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